In the realm of “What Will They Think Up Next?,” ATMs are making a grand transformation of their own. During the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses and retailers are discovering that ATM technology can be used for a lot more than simply dispensing cash.
New ATM vending machines around the world are now dispensing everything from candy to eggs to fresh oysters, according to a report from Forbes.
The Forbes report highlights one entrepreneur who, “has dotted the island state of Singapore with Norwegian salmon ATMs. He has cut out stores, staff and distributors and sells fillets direct to customers for S$5.90 ($4.25) and the fish stays fresh for up to 2 years because the machine keeps them at -4 degrees F or -20 degrees.”
In May of this year, Reuters wrote about a program in Indonesia that government officials rolled out to help citizens struggling to make ends meet during the global pandemic. Dubbed “rice ATMs,” these machines are “Stacked with kilos of good-quality rice and operated by magnetic cards, the tall automated teller machines look much like normal cashpoints, only that they pump out grain instead of banknotes.”
Indonesia’s rice program is available for “daily wage earners, the unemployed, those who do not own a house and people who live below the poverty line.” These “rice ATMs” provide approximately 1.5 tons of rice to feed about 1,000 people daily.
With the global need for social distancing in order to slow the pandemic, creative minds are creating new and innovative ways of using ATM technology to bring people what they need – even if that means a nice chocolate crepe at 2 AM.